8 Healthy Alternatives to Coffee

8 Healthy Alternatives to Coffee

Smart substitutes for coffee you can grab when you need an energy boost.

By: Maressa Brown

Some of us can’t even begin to envision morning without coffee. Others drink java only on occasion, as a special treat. But for many, coffee can come with some uncomfortable side effects, like jitters or a crash once the initial buzz wears off. You might also want to steer clear of coffee in the afternoons, as drinking it too late might affect your sleep later on. Thankfully, there are numerous healthy alternatives to the average cup of joe. Here, eight of the top picks to sip.

1. Licorice tea: Even if you’re not a big fan of licorice candy, you may be into the sweet, spicy tea, which could help relieve fatigue, brain fog, and other symptoms you might have as a result of overtaxed adrenal glands, which produce the stress hormone cortisol.

2. Nut smoothies: As long as you or a loved one don’t suffer a nut allergy, you can safely lean on them as a pick-me-up. Try a smoothie made with almond or cashew milk, protein powder (whey or vegan), and nut butter, which will boost your blood sugar to help you power through your morning or afternoon.

3. Green tea: With slightly less caffeine than coffee, green tea offers a boost -- and a hefty supply of catechins, powerful antioxidants associated with a reduced risk for several cancers, including skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, and bladder cancer, according to the Harvard Women’s Health Watch. They recommend letting tea steep for three to five minutes to bring out its catechins.

4. Carob powder: If you’re craving chocolate and coffee (mmm, a mocha!), this might be the perfect solution. Carob powder is naturally sweet, low in fat, and high in fiber. It also has calcium and no caffeine. But it can certainly help you kick your craving. Just mix with warm milk and a touch of honey for a quick treat.

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5. Water with lemon: The alkalinizing combo -- served either hot or ice cold -- will wake up your senses, thanks to the energizing power of citrus. It’s also especially hydrating, which is particularly important, considering how sluggishness can easily stem from dehydration.

6. Peppermint tea: Skip the caffeine in lieu of something even more refreshing – peppermint, which stimulates the trigeminal nerve, the same nerve activated by smelling salts. There are even chocolate peppermint teas that can serve as a substitute for a peppermint mocha. (Just add a bit of milk for creaminess.)

7. Herbal coffee: These unique tea/coffee hybrids use ingredients including carob pods, barley, and chicory root. Herbal coffee is supposed to be especially beneficial for people who have digestive health conditions because it’s non-acidic and contains the prebiotic inulin, a soluble that supports a healthy population of beneficial digestive flora.

8. Green juice: Juicing up your greens (think kale, spinach, celery, and maybe a Granny Smith apple for good, sweet measure) offers a bunch of benefits, in great part to the stores of chlorophyll it offers. The phytochemical from dark leafy veggies helps oxygenate the blood and, according to a study published in the journal Appetite, suppress hunger.

Which of these have you tried or would you try?

Maressa Brown is a senior staff writer for The Stir. She loves writing about and reading up on health/fitness, relationships, and pop culture -- preferably on a beach somewhere.

Image ©iStock.com/MilosStankovic

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